May 23, 2006

Nuclear Power in Australia

Nuclear Power in Australia

MEDIA RELEASE – JOINT STATEMENT

THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

and MARTIN FERGUSON MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND ENERGY

23 May 2006

There will be no nuclear power in Australia under a Beazley Government.

The economics don’t stack up; we have abundant sources of alternative energy; waste disposal issues are unresolved; and there are important national security issues to be considered.

For these reasons Labor doesn’t support nuclear power in Australia.

Labor’s position is clear. What is the Prime Minister’s view?

Never before has a PM talked so much about an issue but said so little.

John Howard refuses to rule out nuclear power.

If the Prime Minister is planning to introduce nuclear power, we have some questions for him to answer while he’s away:

· Which suburbs will be home to the new nuclear reactors?

· What will he do to ensure local residents and schools are safe?

· Will there be nuclear reactors in each major city, or just Sydney?

· What would he do with the nuclear waste?

· Given he has no solution to low and medium-level nuclear waste, how does he plan to dispose of or store high-level waste?

· Does he rule out a tax on carbon emissions that would be necessary to encourage a transition to nuclear power?

· What is his response to the sensible comments on this issue made by Senator Minchin and other Coalition colleagues?

Australians are uncomfortable with the prospect of a nuclear nation under John Howard, and this is made worse by his refusal to clarify his plans.

Labor has a clear position, the Howard Government does not.

Australians need the Prime Minister to immediately come clean on his plans for nuclear power in Australia.

TIME FOR THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT TO COME CLEAN ON ITS POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER IN AUSTRALIA

Kim Beazley: “Labor’s clear position is that nuclear power is not appropriate for Australia. The economics of nuclear power simply don’t stack up here.”

[Address to the University of Sydney Government and International Relations Lecture Series, 23 March 2006]

MITCHELL: You do also believe, don’t you, that nuclear or broader nuclear power in Australia itself is inevitable?

PRIME MINISTER: “I think it is inevitable…Clearly the environmental advantages of nuclear power are there for all to see. It is cleaner and greener and therefore some of the people who in the past have opposed it should support it.”

[Prime Minister John Howard, Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, 19 May 2006]

COSTELLO: “At some point I would think that it would become commercial, that’s some time off.”

[Treasurer Peter Costello, Southern Cross Radio, 23 May 2006]

COSTELLO: “It is not economic at this time in Australia because we have such proven resources of gas and coal.”

[Treasurer Peter Costello, Doorstop Interview, Broken Hill, 15 May 2006]

MINCHIN: “I cannot see how nuclear power could possibly be viable in this country for at least 100 years. I think we could waste a lot of time and hot air debating nuclear power, when really it’s just not going to be on the horizon economically for a very long time."

[Finance Minister Nick Minchin – Sunday Mail Interview, 21 May 2006]

CAMPBELL: “My assessments of the economics of nuclear power for Australia have not changed – I suspect it would be a long, long way down the track”

[Environment Minister Ian Campbell – AAP, 23 May 2006]

MACFARLANE: “The economics of nuclear power just simply don’t add up.”

[Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane – AM Program ABC, 22 May 2006]

BARRIE CASSIDY: On nuclear power, do you share the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for a full-on debate in this country on nuclear power?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: “I certainly do. I think in the context of a number of things. First of all, the climate change debate, that’s, I think, very significantly changed the focus of the debate on nuclear power…I think it’s just an issue where people need to have open minds and think about the issue, particularly in the context of climate change.”

[Foreign Minister Alexander Downer – Insiders Program ABC, 21 May 2006]